My name is Julian Hamood, and I’m the President and founder of Trusted Tech Team (TTT), a leading Microsoft Cloud Solutions and license provider.
I’ve spent the better part of 17 years gaining insights and experience in the world of IT solutions with a focus on licensing, consultations, customer relations, and entrepreneurship. At that time, I launched TTT out of Irvine, CA after working for another Microsoft licensing company that was more B2C-focused and product-driven than people-centric.
That missing focus on people was a crucial “x-factor” that I believed could’ve driven that other business forward while more positively impacting clients by elevating the customer experience. I wanted to bring that customer journey to this market, so my team and I developed a unique value-add business model for TTT that was rooted in that vision without sacrificing the quality of care or level of expertise.
In the last few years, this people-first approach has proven hugely successful for us and has helped us achieve truly meteoric growth. We’ve earned a strong position and trusted reputation as a Microsoft CSP direct-bill partner, holding numerous Solutions Partner Designations, and Microsoft Gold Partner competency (which has now become a legacy distinction).
Through it all, we’ve held fast to that founding belief that the person and the pain points at the center of the experience are our main priority in delivering top-tier support and expertise.
What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?
I’ve had an affinity for computers for as long as I can remember. I even spent time working at a computer shop as a teenager to gain as much knowledge of hardware and software as possible. As I grew older, my interest in the technical side of Microsoft operating systems continued to grow also.
Prior to launching my company, I worked at an organization in a similar space, where I was able to learn everything I could about the Microsoft ecosystem. Now, a variety of challenges can arise on the licensing side of many software and cloud-based solutions. I also noticed some pretty glaring gaps in the industry and the standard customer experience.
In my view, licensing, and support were needlessly complex and frustrating. I became passionate about simplifying the process with a new approach and value-add business model that I’d not yet seen elsewhere in the market. I drew upon that experience and my determination to build TTT with one central objective: to offer clients an unparalleled experience while delivering top-notch service at competitive pricing for the extensive range of Microsoft products.
This goal has remained at the core of everything we do and continues to drive the business forward today.
Be an example to your employees! Stay true to your mission as a leader, and make sure you show up.
Take us through the process of building the first version of your product.
When I founded the company in 2017, we first focused on providing licensing and support to both B2B and B2C clients for legacy ‘on-prem’ Microsoft systems, but we quickly recognized that there was a massive opportunity to be seized in servicing Cloud-based systems as more of the world transitioned their businesses to the Cloud.
We chose to pivot our core focus from supporting on-prem systems to Cloud-based solutions, which catapulted the company into a tremendous growth phase, rapidly increased our revenue, and cemented our position in the North American market as one of Microsoft’s most trusted and highest volume partners (despite operating within one of the most competitive terrains to break into).
Cloud-Based solutions are different products than on-prem solutions. What we did was combine cloud-based solutions with the expertise required to implement the solutions. Previously, you could purchase cloud-based solutions, but it was hard to find qualified individuals to help.
On top of this, TTT already had on-prem solution expertise so we were more qualified to help the transition to the cloud solutions. Certifications from Microsoft and extensive IT infrastructure experience were required to make this possible. We compete with hundreds of other Microsoft Partners and differentiate ourselves with superior expertise and support.
Make sure that you truly and deeply understand the needs of the customers within your industry and focus relentlessly on addressing those pain points.
Describe the process of launching the business.
Trusted Tech Team was launched when I formed the business and simply started making calls to my contacts in the industry. Early team members and I shared a small office space and worked hand in hand as we began to flex our licensing expertise and industry savvy to help customers alleviate the frustrations they had faced with IT licensing.
Immediately, we were able to create value for our customers by leveraging our expertise and focus on the individual. In our early days, we celebrated every sale and fostered a sense of family. Then the sales started to pick up as the word was out that there was a business focused on the licensing needs of other businesses, and we knew that we were on the right track, so we doubled down.
We started as a tight-knit group that had worked together for years but expanded to bring on other qualified professionals to help us build the business further. This brought in new perspectives and diversity that helped us identify new ways to create value. We have since updated our website, but here is a screenshot of our early days:
Since the time of this screenshot above, our focus has been on maximizing our expertise, which brought us from a Silver Microsoft Partner to a Gold Microsoft Partner, and then to become one of the first organizations to earn a Microsoft Solutions Partner Designation. We continue to focus on expanding our expertise and have our eyes set on holding certifications in every subset of the massive Microsoft ecosystem and are well on our way.
My number one recommendation for aspiring entrepreneurs is to make sure that you truly and deeply understand the needs of the customers within your industry and focus relentlessly on addressing those pain points.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
To attract customers, we have tested an array of strategies and continue to do so. We have a massive presence on Google and Bing through search engine marketing. If you search for any Windows Server or SQL Server products, you will surely find the Trusted Tech Team front and center.
As far as cloud solutions such as Microsoft 365, most businesses are unaware that they can save money on their existing licensing or that better support exists.
In order to overcome this challenge, we leverage an outbound strategy that focuses on educating IT professionals about other options that exist, helping them right-size their environments, and adding savings of up to 20% on top.
In terms of continual marketing and growth, we test a wide variety of platforms and mediums. We have run both organic and paid advertising campaigns on LinkedIn, Reddit, Twitter, and Meta to name a few. We also host webinars, attend conferences, and are looking into podcasting.
One of our biggest challenges is that our offerings appear “too good to be true,” so we need to constantly work to overcome this challenge by showcasing the success of our customers and through reputable publication partnerships. Data-driven testing and optimization are at the forefront of our demand generation strategy.
Regarding retention, we let our expertise and customer-centric philosophy take care of this for us. Our customers feel a sense of relief when they talk to us because we put expertise at the forefront of training our sales professionals and licensing engineers. Our team is ready and able first to understand the problems that are facing the customer, evaluate their environment to determine the needs, and then find the most cost-effective solution to maximize functionality without redundancy and minimize the cost.
This expertise-driven retention strategy has been our focus, but we also look to increase the value for our customers at every step. This culminated in the establishment of our Professional Services offerings when our customers began to ask for more complex assistance in optimizing their IT infrastructure.
Because we already had the expertise to execute these requests, we began working on these projects for our customers, and it has since evolved into another pillar of our business. With a constant focus on providing as much value for our clients as possible, our customers know they are in excellent hands.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
Trusted Tech Team continues to be very healthy while maintaining profitability, despite being focused on rapid market share expansion. As a Microsoft Partner and reseller, we have little control over our gross margin and cost of goods sold but have been able to differentiate ourselves from the competition through our human-centric philosophy and expert-led support offerings.
We always out-rank our competitors and often appear above Microsoft in search results. This strategy has worked well and helped us continuously grow our stable on-prem licensing business.
This has allowed us to grow our revenue and profit through volume expansion. Because our customers are consistently satisfied with our licensing expertise and support offerings, we have minimal churn in our customer base. We operate through our eCommerce store and license management portal and do not have a brick-and-mortar presence.
We recently moved to a state-of-the-art 32,000+ square foot headquarters in Irvine, California, and expect that soon, even that may not be enough to keep up with our expansion. We continue to be aggressive in siphoning off a large share of the US market, but we also have a presence in Canada, and the UK, and have additional international expansion opportunities on the horizon.
Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?
Absolutely. Some of those top lessons learned include:
Adaptability is Crucial: No matter how hard you try or how clear your vision is, you simply cannot plan for everything that will happen in the business cycle (or in the global economic climate, for that matter, as we’ve seen in recent years). The ability to remain agile, proactive, and adaptable to any changes thrown your way is essential to success.
Knowledge is Power: In order to outshine competitors in launching a business, it’s imperative that entrepreneurs possess superior knowledge of the industry they are venturing into. It’s paramount that they understand the intricacies of the business itself and identify customers who fit into their ideal customer profile.
It’s also essential for entrepreneurs to recognize that past professional accomplishments do not guarantee success in a startup or leadership role - so they must be willing to continue to learn, conduct thorough research, and hire teams who can fill in any knowledge gaps that may exist.
Community is Everything: Creating a supportive network outside of work is just as important as creating a network within your professional community. It’s important to have people in your corner who you can rely on during both good times and bad.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
Microsoft 365, generative AI technologies, and LinkedIn are definitely the most impactful tools I use. The seamless integration of the Microsoft 365 suite has been incredibly beneficial to my business. As a compulsive note-taker, I rely on OneNote and manage my emails through Outlook.
The rise of generative AI tools has also significantly accelerated my productivity and enabled me to achieve faster, more effective results in a variety of scenarios. From crafting partnership agreements to planning vacations, these tools have greatly simplified my life.
Lastly, LinkedIn plays a crucial role in my day-to-day professional life. It serves as a platform for making valuable business connections, engaging with customers, and continuously learning from fellow professionals.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?
I highly recommend the book $100M Offers: How to Make Offers So Good People Feel Stupid Saying No by Alex Hormozi. It teaches us the art of crafting irresistibly compelling offers that captivate customers, prompting them to pay at any price.
Hormozi skillfully clarifies the significance of establishing immense value in product offerings and provides invaluable insights surrounding that concept that readers can apply in their own work.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?
Be an example to your employees! Stay true to your mission as a leader, and make sure you show up. Your team is looking at you as an example of how they should act. I also think it’s important to prioritize your company’s work culture. So many hours are spent together at work, so it’s crucial to create a hardworking and collaborative work environment.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
With our rapid growth, Trusted Tech Team is always looking for qualified professionals. We are actively hiring for roles within marketing operations and demand generation, cloud support and architecture, and business development representatives. These are all full-time, in-person roles. We encourage anyone interested to apply via our jobs page on LinkedIn.
Where can we go to learn more?
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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